Friday, October 7, 2022

What Goes on in My Head, Yet Again

After my post last week, Shintar and Bhagpuss collectively kicked me in the ass to get me out of my funk. They might disagree about how I characterized their comments, but that's how I took it. And it was greatly needed.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about that last post, and referencing a few other posts, such as this one from this past July (or during Blaugust), or even why I shun the spotlight to my detriment, as I've opined on several occasions here over the years.

Those brooding, often melancholy moments, remind me that in the Nature vs Nurture debate I'm far more on the side of Nurture. We are the products of our experiences, whether we like them or not, and it takes a lot of effort to overcome deep seated tendencies that stem from those experiences. When people talk of the term "reverting to form" I imagine this face in the Wikipedia article:

This ol' pic is getting up there
in age.


I've had a hard time of thinking of anything more to say than what I've already said about this, other than I used to not be this way when I was much younger. I used to not be the sort of person who hid from others, who put up impenetrable barriers in gameplay designed more to keep myself separate than preserving a sense of "authenticity" or some other bullshit excuse I can think up. No, I learned to do this as a reaction to my own life experiences.

And really, I don't want to rehash more life stories any more than I have to. I mean, if you've read the blog you know about some of them already, and I'm hardly unique in that I was bullied or forgotten in my youth. 

But I will say that I had become introverted enough by the time I reached college that after I took the psychological exam that all incoming students at UD took back then*, I was summoned to the Health Center for a discussion with the shrinks there. My responses were such that they were concerned I would be able to function in a collegiate environment, but as I told them, I hid it well. 

You'd think that over the years at work that I'd gradually outgrown this sort of reticence, but that has most definitely not been the case. I've learned to tolerate it, that's all. It's only when I can relax and let my guard down that my introversion comes rushing back to the forefront, such as when I'm gaming. 

Someone mentioned in a YouTube video I was watching last week about how the automated dungeon finder in WoW was a godsend for introverts and the shy people who have a hard time reaching out and forming groups on their own, which gave me pause. WoW's well known toxicity kept me from enjoying dungeon runs in Cataclysm and later, but I do have to admit that selecting a role and waiting for a dungeon to pop was a lot easier than trying to reach out and do it yourself. While some people complained that it encouraged passivity, I'd argue that for the shy it was a godsend.

There were times --even in WoW Classic-- that I wanted to get into an instance to finish a quest or three, and I'd get a whisper that I shouldn't be looking for that instance because I'd outleveled it. That sort of behavior encouraged me to shut up and be passive when watching for groups, because people couldn't just keep their opinions to themselves.


Still, I need to be more responsive to my friends. They know me well enough, and in spite of my foibles they do appreciate me. That's where the kick in the ass came in handy.

"I might have deserved that..."
From Pirates of the Caribbean:
Curse of the Black Pearl.

*I have no idea if they still take those exams today; I don't recall any of my kids having to take psych exams for their Freshman year. For me, the exams took about 5 hours on a Saturday, and the guy I drove up with had psych problems of his own, namely that of his very overprotective mother. If there was a mom who fit the classic Italian-American stereotypical mom, it was her. She even called the university to check on him while he was taking the exams. This was in an era before cell phones, mind you, and he was totally embarrassed when they summoned him out of the exam room because his mom called.

EtA: Added a link.


  1. While some people complained that it encouraged passivity, I'd argue that for the shy it was a godsend.

    I think that depends on what you wanted out of the experience. If you just wanted to get those dungeons done for the reward, then yeah. But you can be an introvert and still crave friendly interactions. The way NeverKnowsBest articulated it in this video really spoke to me personally:

    "In the past, you didn't need to try [to make friends]. You just played the game and made friends in the process, as if acquiring friends was just some kind of natural by-product of playing the game, and this made MMOs great experiences for people who were maybe less social, less extroverted and less confident. MMOs basically tricked you into making friends by making you interact with other players and by making you as a player have value to others."

    1. That jibes almost exactly with my experience in EverQuest. When I first started in 1999, I played for quite a while almost entirely solo and I was more than happy with it but as time went on the structure of the game just gradually drifted me into social interactions. I found myself joining guilds, building a friends list and eventually becoming part of a very active cross-guild chat channel that put groups together pretty much every evening to do all kinds of exciting things.

      I guess I played more or less socially, pretty consistently, in several mmorpgs for at least seven years, maybe closer to a decade now I think about it. Rift, which was the first mmorpg I played that had genuine hot-join quasi-social options, was the begining of the end for all that and Guild Wars 2 in 2012 was the final straw. After that, the games all had mechanics to ensure you never really needed to communicate directly with another human being, just follow the herd.

      I can't say which I prefer now. I have a huge nostalgia for the old, social playstyle but at the time there were many aspects of it that drove me nuts. The way I play now is much more isolated but it also feels a lot more like entertainment. I'm not sure the level of intensity involved in the old way qualifies for that description.

    2. My experience was quite different. Perhaps it's because I started playing with Soul and his wife, and that I initially restricted my playing time to one day per week for 2-3 hours total, but once I got beyond those initial baby steps I played completely solo: no grouping with anybody else, and avoiding population centers as much as I could. I still remember following Soul into Orgrimmar for the first time, and I felt like I was completely naked and everyone was watching me. Soul told me then --and I have since learned it to be the case-- that nobody gives a rip about other people when you're in a capital city.

      But naturally, on that first entry into Org, I was accosted by a random person asking for guild signatures. Because of course that would happen.

      Looking back on it, I don't think I grouped as a solo person in a group of any sort at all until the automated dungeon finder; all of the other times it was with Soul, his wife, or both. And really, it took a lot for me to actually queue by myself that first time. I'd already experienced some of the toxicity inherent in WoW since I was originally a healer when I started, and even though I'd since switched to DPS I wasn't eager to repeat those experiences again.

      Once I got me feet under me and learned how to run the various 5-person instances in Wrath of the Lich King I became more comfortable with dungeon grouping and preferred it to trying to assemble anything in group chat by myself. I could do what I wanted and if I got into an instance, so much the better.

      Sure, I was in guilds by then --mainly because Soul was raiding and I came along for the ride-- but I wasn't (and still am not) a guild hopper, and outside of doing some instances with guildies I still played solo.

      It was only in SWTOR where I began assembling groups for the Heroic quests in various zones, but my experiences with group content were limited to SWTOR and WoW --GW2's steady stream of zone events doesn't count-- and most of the time I played solo (and guildless) anyway. When Classic dropped I finally got out of my comfort zone and utilized LFG chat to assemble groups, but my enthusiasm for such waned when people began telling me I was "doing it wrong" in various ways. I still whisper people who are assembling groups to enter into a dungeon run, but I never initiate. Even when I raid led Karazhan, if I couldn't get a guild/friend raid together, I'd rather cancel the raid than have to rely upon a random pugger, especially if it was for a tank or healer role. The one time I relented on that and accepted a pugger for a tank role in Kara was, ironically enough, our last Kara run: the tank wouldn't listen to me as raid lead, wouldn't get in Discord, and ordered everybody around and expected us to run at his pace, which was very fast. Sure, we got finished about 45 minutes earlier, but it was anything but a pleasant end of the work week run. A few days later, the guild announced the merger and server transfer, and that was that.

      It is quite ironic that while I dislike the toxicity in WoW, I do enjoy the anonymity that the automated dungeon finder provides.

  2. My experience is that my introversion is never leaving if it isn't gone by now. One of the reasons I liked commenting on my blog and others is it seems to do away with my reticence when it comes to talking to people.

    It is really creepy when I dig up an occasional photo from my youth. I appear to be a feral child someone found in the mountains. Although it looks like dislike I think it's just fear of people, why I don't know.

    1. Well, we traditional bloggers get so little traffic, we're like our own little club. A far cry from the heyday of blogging, for sure.